The Essential Checklist for Your New Home

By Ana Farrell
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When you’re moving into a new home, there are a few items that every household should have. These are the gadgets and items that are essential to making your house function properly, yet you may not have thought of them before if this is your first house or apartment.

From kitchen necessities to what to consider when buying furniture, here’s a checklist to help you keep track of everything you need.


Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning is something you should always do when you move somewhere new, as you might not know if it was done by the previous inhabitants. Plus, when will you have a better opportunity to do it? You can arm yourself with a few basics such as a bucket, mop, steam cleaner, broom and vacuum.

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For smaller cleaning supplies, rags, sponges, a scrub brush and disinfectants are always useful to have on hand. While your favorite household cleaner will usually do the trick, you can also look up some recipes for vinegar and lemon-based cleaners you can make at home. Paper towels in bulk are also helpful.

Kitchen Must-Haves

When you’re moving into your first house or apartment, there are a few must-haves that you’ll want to have ready before you even move in so that you don’t have to run out and get them later. These staples include trash bags, sponges, rags, cleaning supplies and dish soap.

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In addition, paper products, storage containers, scrub brushes, chip clips and a paper towel holder will help keep your kitchen orderly right out of the gate. You should also make sure to grab dish towels, potholders and a garbage can. You can store these goods in a couple labeled boxes so that you can set things up the moment you’re moved in.

Small Appliances

No matter how much you cook, there are a few small appliances that will help you out in the kitchen, such as a toaster, coffee pot, teapot and blender. Having these items ready is particularly important for new college or high school graduates who are living on their own for the first time.

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You may also want to include a slow cooker or crockpot, a pressure cooker and a food processor. All of these appliances come in small sizes that can easily fit on the counter or in cabinets, and they can be used to cheaply and efficiently make a range of meals.



Whether this will be your first kitchen or you simply neglected cooking before, there’s no time like the present to set up a proper kitchen. For a full cooking experience in your new home, you’ll most likely need a couple of baking sheets, a glass pan, metal pan, small saucepot, frying pan, and large pot.

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If you like to bake, include some muffin tins, a larger baking pan and a couple of additional glass pans. Anything that includes a lid for easy storage is a major perk. Glass bowls with lids for serving, baking, and mixing are also essential.

Dishes and Glassware

When it comes to dishes and glasses, how many you need is ultimately up to you. Do you entertain a lot? Then you’ll need numerous plates, bowls and cups. Wine and shot glasses may also be in order depending on how you like to spend an evening. If you prefer to enjoy time by yourself or with just a couple friends, however, you can get away with far fewer plates.

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Whatever you decide, don’t forget coffee mugs, water glasses and travel cups. Storage containers are also a must-have, and large bowls can be great for fruit, candy or other treats for guests.

Silverware and Utensils

Most silverware can be bought in sets so that you get all the spoons, butter knives and forks you need at once. If you cook a lot, however, you may want to invest in some nicer cutlery. A peeler, garlic press, chopping knife, pizza cutter, and kitchen scissor are also useful.

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Additional must-have kitchen utensils include measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, wooden spoons, and tongs. Many of these items often come in sets that include everything you need to prepare a basic meal.



Basic bedding is something you want to have ready for your first night in your new home. While everyone sleeps differently, there are a few pieces every new bed should have. To start, look for bedding sets that include a fitted sheet, flat sheet and two pillowcases.

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Depending on how cold or hot you are, you can go for an additional comforter or duvet cover and quilt. Large pillow shams and throw pillows also make your bed look and feel luxurious. If you aren’t moving with a bedframe and mattress, go out and test a few to find one you sleep well in.

Nightstand Essentials

The nightstand is often an underrated bedtime essential. One or two of them are great for holding lamps, phone chargers, reading lights, glasses, water and all of your go-to items. You can even find nightstands that come with built-in USB chargers or lights.

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In terms of drawers, think about how you plan to use the nightstand. If you’re a reader, for instance, you may use a drawer to hold a book or a pair of reading glasses. You might also need to charge an electronic tablet or plug in a humidifier, so choose your nightstand accordingly.

Bedroom Storage

Typically, a bedroom should include a dresser and a chest of drawers or armoire. For storage, think about the types of clothes you have and how big your closet is. If you have a tiny closet, make up for the lack of storage space by getting a bigger wardrobe or dresser.

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You can get an ottoman for the foot of your bed that doubles as a place to store extra bedding or bulky clothing. Under-the-bed storage containers are also great for holding seasonal clothes or items you don’t need every day.


Closet Organization

Having an organized and streamlined closet makes getting out of the house a lot easier in the morning. Get some non-slip velvet hangers to make storing clothing easy and set yourself up for success by ensuring your clothes remain wrinkle-free and easy to find each morning.

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If you have a closet door, you can also add an over-the-door mirror, hooks or a shoe holder. This can help save space and get things off the floor. A shoe rack is also handy if you don’t have closet organizers. For little items, consider getting drawer organizers.

Bedroom Décor

To make your bedroom feel like home, add some cozy touches and decorative items, such as artwork, extra bedding, rugs, lamps, mirrors and a seating area if you have the room. Throw pillows, blankets and artwork will add pops of color.

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Mirrors are not only practical, but can also help make your bedroom appear larger. If this is your first house or apartment, don’t forget basic items such as a hamper and a garbage can. If you have the room, add a chair or two for putting on shoes or reading.

Bathroom Must-Haves

Your bathroom is where you start and end your day, so make sure your new bathroom has everything you need. Some practical bathroom must-haves include a plunger, toilet brush, soap, scale and shower caddy. You’ll also need a wastebasket. If there isn’t one on the wall, include a toilet paper holder as well.

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If you have a shower or bathtub combination without a door, a shower curtain is another must. Don’t forget to include the liner and shower rings as well. You can use your shower curtain to add some color or set the tone for your décor.



If this is your first place, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to towels. You should also look for sets of towels that include hand and face towels as well as body towels.

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You will also need a bathmat, rugs and extra towels for guests or additional bathrooms. If you don’t have towel holders, you can install some hooks or add something to the back of the door to hang your wet towel or bathrobe. Towels are a great chanceto add color as well.

Bathroom Accessories

Moving is a great time to get a new toothbrush and take stock of what accessories need replacing. Things like toothbrush holders, shower curtains, wastebaskets, and soap dispensers can get grimy over time.

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Other bathroom accessories to consider include a tissue holder, soap or lotion dispensers, shower caddy and compartments to store make-up, shaving supplies and hair tools. You can keep these items out on your vanity or stored under your sink. Over the toilet storage is another option if space is limited.


You may want to stock up on or replace your toiletries before moving to make life easier on yourself later. These include toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, shaving cream, hand soap, deodorant and face wash.

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Now is a good time to refill toilet paper, tissues and bathroom cleaning supplies as well. Toilet paper, toothpaste and shampoo in particular should be added to the box of stuff you’re unpacking first.


Laundry Essentials

There are a few essentials that every laundry room needs to function at its best, including detergents, dryer sheets, bleach, spray bottles and a pair of scissors for losse threads. When you move, stock up on these supplies so that you’re not scrambling to do laundry after you move.

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You’ll also likely need an iron, ironing board and a drying rack. Depending on how much room you have, you may be able to add shelving for cleaning supplies, paper products and a sorting area.


If this is your first place, one of the most crucial items to get is a hamper. You might as well use a couple of hampers while you’re stocking up on supplies, with one for dirty clothes and an additional one for sorting or other purposes.

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For example, you can keep one near the bathroom for towels and another for gym clothes. Another helpful hamper tip is to keep additional laundry hampers on different floors to cut down on trips up the stairs.

Kitchen And Utility Storage

While you’re setting up your home, think about spaces that aren’t normally utilized. You can potentially turn the spaces under your stairs, beneath your bed or behind doors into useful storage. For your cabinets, don’t forget risers that can add additional levels of storage.

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You can organize your drawers with dividers that keep utensils and silverware in their proper place. In your pantry, separate cans, boxes and additional loose items in bins and boxes so they are easily seen.



Not only do rugs help keep your home warm but they can also add to the personality of a room. When it comes to which rug to purchase, consider your budget and and the colors of other furniture and the walls in each room

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You’ll likely want rugs for the dining room and bathroom as well as mats for each entryway. From there, you can add rugs to bedrooms or anywhere else you need to add a little warmth and softness.


If you move into a new space where the windows aren’t covered, you may feel like you’re living in a fishbowl. Curtains, sheers and blinds will give you privacy and keep the sunlight out when you want them to.

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In your main living spaces, you’ll want something that can let light in during the day but also provide privacy and darkness when you want it. Getting solid shades for your bedroom is particularly important, especially if you’re a late riser.

Get Cozy

It’s the little things that make a room feel like a home. Throw blankets and pillows can help keep you warm as well as also adding some color to your space, while a few well-placed trinkets can add personality to side tables and other spaces.

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If you have a fireplace, consider decorating it with family pictures a favorite painting. You’ll also need basic fire utensils if you have a wood-burning fireplace in addition to a safety screen. Keep extra firewood on hand for cold nights.


Picture Frames

Pictures can personalize your house, but picture frames personalize pictures. You can use frames to suit a given room’s style or to highlight the content of the pictures themselves.

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You can often buy a set of frames in various sizes, which can make matching picture frames that much easier. However, you can also choose custom frames for your pictures for a more eclectic but personalized look or to highlight particularly important images.


A mudroom is a space for guests to take off jackets and shoes before entering a house, but not every home or apartment comes with one. By getting creative with storage, however, almost any hallway or entryway can double as a mudroom — with the right supplies.

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A hall tree, bench, coat rack or cubby system can help keep shoes, bags and jackets from piling up by the door, and they don’t have to take up much space. If you have the room, you can also give every family member a cabinet or bin for shoes, umbrellas and bags with others reserved for guests.

Office Organization

Whether you have a designated office or not, you can still create an area to work. Before you move, decide what traits you need in a workspace — outlets, room for drinks, bookshelves or anything else — and look for an area that can meet your needs.

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Once you have one in mind, fill out the space with a desk, table chair or any other heavy furniture you need to be comfortable. If space is at a premium and you don’t have other storage, a mug can be used to hold pens and other knick knacks.


Living Room Furniture

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a seasoned veteran, moving can be a great opportunity to toss out old furniture and bring in new items to complement your change in residence. Choose styles based on the design of your new rooms or remodel based on the furniture you choose — just be prepared to pay in time and money if you opt for the latter.

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If your apartment or new home is small, consider making your living room serve multiple functions. A foldout couch can prepare it for use as a guest room, while a table can make it work as a dining space.


How much dining space you need can vary greatly depending on the size of your family and home. Sometimes, you may need a lot of furniture to properly furnish your dining space. Other times, you may just need a couple of bar stools to seat yourself in a small apartment.

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Common dining furniture includes bar or counter stools, a dining room table and chairs and possibly additional table sets for an eat-in kitchen or basement. It may be helpful to purchase some of these items after you have lived in a home for a while so you know what you need.

Patio Party

If you’re hoping to entertain a lot outdoors or spend time there yourself, good patio furniture is worth the investment. Patio and outdoor spaces can double as living areas when furnished properly. Whether you have a deck, a large yard or even just a balcony built for two, it’s worth taking some measurements before you move in so you can get shopping

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There are literally thousands of dining sets that can fit small or large spaces. You may also want to look for lounge chairs and other comfort items. Don’t forget a grill and umbrellas for shade as well.


Guest Space

If you have a lot of family or friends that stay with you, making sure they feel at home is probably a top priority. If you have a guest room for people to stay in, look for comfortable bedding that can help your guests cozy up. Be sure to add guest towels and toiletries if you have space as well.

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If you don’t have an extra guest room, pull out couches and air mattresses can still work well for hosting family and friends. When space is limited, find an air mattress, futon, or a couch that pulls out.


If you entertain a lot, there are a few essentials every host or hostess should have in stock. Consider buying a bar cart or other piece of furniture that can help you serve drinks and double as storage. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create extra entertaining space.

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A bar cabinet will not only store bottles, glasses, serve ware and extra party supplies but can also give you an extra serving surface. You might also want to invest in some serving platters, cheese boards and anything else you’d need for a get-together.

Bring Nature In

If you don’t have a huge outdoor space or a lot of green areas near your new home, think about bringing nature indoors. You can buy inexpensive houseplants that may last for several years or longer if properly cared for.

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Keep in mind that some plants, such as succulents, are easy enough to care for that even the least green of thumbs can care for them. These plants don’t require much water and they hardly ever need pruning.